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in association with the Worshipful Company of Armourers & Brasiers

NOTICE: The 2023-24 applications will be open towards the end of the Michaelmas Term. Eligible students will receive an email directly.  The information found within these pages will be updated over the course of October/November 2023.

NOTICE:  Currently, UK passport holders can travel within the EU (Schengen area) for upto 90 days within a 180 day period without requiring a visa.  However, they must obtain entry and exit stamps to prove this, otherwise it will be assumed they have overstayed.  This is due to become an electronic process in late 2024 - EES (Entry/Exit System).  The requirement for British citizens to obtain a visa to travel to the EU is due to come into effect from mid-2025. Trips up to 90 days will be covered under ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System); travellers planning longer trips will have to apply for a Schengen visa. For further information who will need ETIAS, please see the ETIAS website.  


The Department of Materials Science has been running a European vacation placement scheme for undergraduate students since the early 1990's. Around a dozen placements at institutions in continental Europe are arranged each summer, typically lasting 8 weeks. These institutions are Universities, government-funded research establishments or industrial laboratories. All are actively involved in Materials Science research and all provide an excellent working and social environment for our students. The host institution will provide some level of financial support (this varies from a bursary towards living costs to free accommodation or similar benefit). The Worshipful Company of Armourers & Brasiers (via the Department) will award a bursary to cover the majority of living expenses, providing students can prove they have made an application to their College or other funds to seek further financial assistance which will contribute to the overall bursary package they receive. A prize for the best student report is awarded annually. Read further details (including financial arrangements and eligibility)

Participating institutions

  • ETHZ, Zurich, Switzerland
  • EMPA, Thun, Switzerland
  • PSI, Villigen, Switzerland
  • Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH), Germany
  • Rolls-Royce Deutschland, Dahlewitz near Berlin, Germany
  • Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Geesthacht, Germany
  • Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung, Düsseldorf, Germany
  • Montanuniversität Leoben, Austria

Please note that conversion of local currency to UK pounds was correct at the time of publishing these pages. Please use the local currency as the basis of your financial planning.


At the end of vacation placements students should submit three reports:

  1. Technical report, or similar, as a complete record of your experimental/theoretical work - for yourself and your host
  2. Non-technical report on your placement as a whole - for the Department and Worshipful Company of Armourers & Brasiers
  3. A student placement report form which includes detailing general costs incurred in relation to travel and accommodation and a personal rating of the accommodation and project undertaken - for Department records.

The final instalment of awards will then be released once the Department is in receipt of these reports. Further details regarding these reports will be circulated to participating students as they near the end of their placement.

In addition to these students reports, the host academic will provide a report on the visiting student and the work completed.

Furthermore, all four reports will then be considered for the annual European placement prize.

The Worshipful CompanyArmourers & Brasiers' European Placement Prize

This Prize is awarded annually, in the Michaelmas Term, to one student and will be £250 in value. In addition the Prizewinner will become an “A&B alumnus”, conferring benefits such as invitations to dinners, receptions etc. The award will be made on the basis of the quality of the reports submitted and other information about the success of the placement. The Prizewinner will be duly publicised on the Department and A&B websites, in newsletters etc.

Placement reports from previous years

The students' placement reports, containing details of costs incurred and other logistical details, are available online for 20232022, 2019.

A selection of non-technical reports, sent to the Worshipful Company of Armourers and Brasiers', are also available here:


MPIE - Piotr Sokolinski (Prize winner)
EMPA - Samuel Bojarski
TUHH - James Cowie
MUL - Jan Vavrin
MPIE - Amy Xu


HZH - Sophie Mance (Prize winner)
RRD - Kevin Mathew
TUHH - Reza Sair


RRD - Wojciech Adamczyk (Prize winner)
MPIE - Noah Milton
ETHZ - Emily Yang
ESI - Kieran Mylrea
TUHH - Catriona Eldridge
EMPA - Emma Gough

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